Telepsychiatry is a branch of telemedicine that includes psychiatric assessment, counseling, patient education, and management of medicines. Telepsychiatry provides direct patient-psychiatrist communications and is used for various types of treatments, including individual therapy, family therapy, or group therapy. Telepsychiatry also provides services, such as session recording in the form of images or audio-video files, for later reviewing the file. This technology can be used for remote care of patients.
The telepsychiatry market was valued at USD 5,490 million and is expected to grow with a CAGR of 5.6%.
Increased levels of anxiety and stress globally have surged the need for telepsychiatry due to surging rates of suicides and mental disorders. For instance, 43.3% of the people in the U.S. received mental illness care in 2018, as per the National Alliance on Mental Illness. For instance, as per the data published by the CDC, in the U.S. (2017), suicide was the second foremost cause of death in people aged between 10–34 years and the fourth leading cause for people aged between 35 and 54 years.
The novel coronavirus has had a massive financial effect on the healthcare sector. Governments across the globe are reacting to COVID-19's danger with all the necessary steps, such as national lockdowns, social distancing, and large-scale quarantine, to minimize virus spread. Most states have made non-essential workers obligatory stay-at-home, which has affected many patients' physical and mental health. Around 47% of Americans staying at home reported adverse mental health effects by March 2020, according to the KFF tracking poll. Over 21% of them indicated negative effects on their mental health.
Rising awareness regarding mental health and surging demand among end-users for mental health treatments drive the market growth. Telepsychiatry offers in-house care for patients and eliminates the need to travel to hospitals or clinics to receive therapy. The psychiatry bed scarcity has raised the need for virtual consultation services. According to the Psychiatric Services report, as of 2018, there were about 14 beds for every 100,000 people available in the U.S., which is much lower than the increasing demand. The lack of adequate care and unreliable treatment may lead to a dangerous condition that can be exacerbated by constant monitoring by telepsychiatry.
The in-home solutions segment dominates the market due to the rising preference for telepsychiatry treatment at home. The in-home solution saves the traveling time of the patients. Virtual consultations during the Covid-19 pandemic enabled NHS trusts and healthcare providers to deliver online consultations when these appointments could not be delivered in person. This has shown that the delivery of healthcare services by virtual consultation is feasible. In addition, virtual consultations result in long term benefits, such as patient flexibility, clinician flexibility, and the surge in the capacity of services. For instance, Midlands NHS use OneConsultation by modality to deliver their virtual consultation services.
The substantial development in technology empowering telemedicine services is a stimulating industry disruptor. The NHS has revealed a USD 5.47 billion investment in digitizing the health service in the U.K., acknowledging that though 84% of adults use the internet, only 2% transact with the NHS online.
The rising level of depression and anxiety in the geriatric population has surged the demand for a virtual consultation. Telehealth is an excellent way to ensure that elderly people living in rural communities are able to meet their needs in healthcare. As per a recent telehealth pole, one in four older Americans had a telehealth visit in the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic. That's much higher than the 4% of people above 50 years in 2019.
Several rural communities implement telehealth programs in skilled nursing facilities for elderly patients to reduce hospitalizations and increase access to care. Effective implementation of telehealth programs in skilled nursing facilities requires ensuring that the telehealth program is supported by facility leadership, training clinical staff to use telehealth equipment, and integrating telehealth into existing policies and workflows. One approach enabling implementation is piloting new telehealth programs with a couple of high-users of health services. These people can provide feedback on the process and enable clinical personnel to put their training into practice.
Engaging care providers can be critical to the success of older adult telehealth programs. Rural telehealth programs may need to allocate funding to train telehealth technologies for caregivers and patients alike. For instance, remote patient monitoring projects may need to engage caregivers to ensure that devices are functioning properly and transmit the required information to telehealth program personnel. Rural communities may also consider using telehealth to lighten the burden on caregivers. For instance, Oregon's evidence-based STAR-Caregiver training program uses telehealth to increase rural caregivers' engagement with dementia patients.
Physician groups, professional societies, insurance companies, and organizations, including AARP, are monitoring the situation with telehealth, and in several cases encouraging the temporary changes in Medicare and Medicaid payment policy and other relevant regulations to become permanent. In June 2019, AARP Research published a report regarding the awareness and attitude of older adults toward telehealth. AARP has also released resources to aidaged people and their caregivers to easily use telehealth services.
North America's market is driven by the high occurrences of chronic diseases, increasing healthcare expenditure, technological developments, rising geriatric populations, and growing awareness of remote monitoring. The advent of mobile health services in the region provides lucrative growth opportunities for telepsychiatry. mHealthprogram, for instance, uses electronic telecommunication and multimedia technology for healthcare delivery. Several Americans are now using mobile wellness apps. As per the latest survey conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, currently, 9% of all smartphone users in the U.S. have downloaded an app to track or manage their health. The widespread consumer interest in telepsychiatry and the increasing adoption rate of mobile health applications and telemedicine devices drive the market growth.
Telepsychiatry service providers are providing mental health services at reasonable costs. Psychiatrists have been encouraged by the American Psychiatric Association to introduce the telepsychiatry platform for better patient satisfaction and treatment. The HHS waived the HIPAA penalties for using the NON-HIPAA compliant videoconferencing program during the COVID-19 outbreak. The onset of the pandemic in Canada has forced governments to fast-track a system for doctors to use telehealth to care for patients. In the U.S., the USDA provides grants to help with the upfront telehealth technology costs, although infrastructure costs have fallen with affordable solutions, such as Zoom for Healthcare. In addition, the licensing standards have been relaxed so that patients can access any service provider interstate.
Asia-Pacific is anticipated to show a lucrative growth rate in the telepsychiatry market on account of the growing awareness regarding mental health, surging smartphone adoption, and favorable government initiatives. On March 11, 2020, in collaboration with Line and Medpeer, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) launched free remote consultation services that will help increase revenues. In January 2020, the Australian government initiated providing additional funding services to address rural and remote patients' mental health needs during any emergency. Several other community tele-mental health service providers such as the Black Dog Institute, Betterhelp, Australia's E-couch promoted campaigns to deal with mental health issues during this pandemic.
In addition, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched novel guidelines for offering remote consultation via video call, chat, and telephone in India to serve people in remote areas during the lockdown. More than 100 leading private hospitals, health-tech start-ups, telecom firms, and investors have jointly come together to launch a free 'Swasth' telemedicine consultation app to help tackle the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in India.